That afternoon, when he had returned to the seaboard, Bessie asked him, “How was the house?”
“Beautiful,” said Thaddeus, quite truthfully; for it was.
“Did Ellen say anything about the hamper?”
“Not a word.”
“Did you speak to her about it?”
“Oh, Teddy! How could you forget it?”
To the lasting honor of Thaddeus be it said that he bore up under this unflinchingly.
“Did you have a good breakfast, Ted?” Bessie asked, returning to the subject later.
“Very,” said Thaddeus, thinking of the hearty meal he and his fellow-sufferer had eaten at the club after getting back to town. “We had a tomato omelet, coffee, toast, rice cakes, tenderloin steak, and grits.”
“Dear me!” smiled Bessie; she was so glad her Teddy had been so well treated. “All that? Ellen must have laid herself out.”
“Yes,” said Thaddeus; “I think she did.”
All the following week Thaddeus seemed to have a load on his mind—a load which he resolutely refused to share with his wife—and on Friday he found it necessary to go up to town.
“I thought this was your vacation,” remonstrated Bessie.
“Well, so it is,” said Thaddeus. “But—but I’ve got one or two matters to attend to—matters of very great importance—so that I think I’ll have to go.”
“If you must, you must,” said Bessie. “But I think it’s horrid of your partner to make you go back to town this hot weather.”
“Don’t be cross with my partner,” said Thaddeus; “especially my partner in this matter.”
“Have you different partners for different matters?” queried Bessie.
“Never mind about that, my dear; you’ll know all about it in time, so don’t worry.”
“All right, Teddy. But I don’t like to have you running away from me when I’m at a hotel. I’d rather be home, anyhow. Can’t I go with you? Little Ted is well enough now to go home.”
“Not this time; but you can go up next Wednesday if you wish,” returned Thaddeus, with a slight show of embarrassment.
And so it was settled, and Thaddeus went to town. On Wednesday they all left the sea-shore to return to Phillipseburg.
“Oh, how lovely it looks!” ejaculated Bessie, as she entered the house, Norah having opened the door. “But—er—where’s Jane, Norah?”
“Cookin’ the dinner, mim.”
“Why, Jane can’t cook.”
“If you please, mim, this is a new Jane.”
Bessie’s parasol fell to the floor. “A wha-a-at?” she cried.
“A new Jane. Misther Perkins has dispinsed with old Jane and Ellen, mim.”
Bessie rushed up-stairs to her room and cried. The shock was too sudden. She longed for Thaddeus, who had remained at the station collecting the bath-tubs and other luxuries of the baby from the luggage-van, to come. What did it all mean? Jane and Ellen gone! New girls in their places!